Parity between English/Arabic idioms

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Andrew___, Dec 2, 2008.

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  1. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Hi everyone,

    I have been thinking of starting this thread for some time.

    English /Arabic idioms

    I would like to compile a number of English idioms which seem to have a surprisingly exact idiom in the Arabic language.
    For example, I read today in the newspaper:
    السعودية تضع اللمسات الأخيرة مع بدء العد العكسي لموسم الحج
    We also say in English "to put the finishing touches on".

    How accepted are these expressions in Arabic?

    In each instance, I am interested to know how acceptable is the use of the idiom amongst Arabs. I presume that many of them are the result of translators trying to render the idiom into Arabic, and would not sound natural to Arabs who are not familiar with the English idiom. For example, how does my example sound to Arab natives?

    If anyone wishes to share other expressions, please come forward. :)
  2. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    This is interesting.

    Do you mean تضع اللمسات الأخيرة ? It sounds perfectly Arabic to me. :)
  3. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Yes this is the expression I am talking about. That is interesting Yasmeena that it sounds perfectly Arabic. Without wanting to sound English-centric, perhaps this expression originally entered the Arabic language as a direct influence of the English idiom, maybe some generations ago which is why it now sounds natural to you.
  4. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    "Newspaper Arabic" (aka "MSA") is filled with such borrowed idioms, though occasionally you'll find an idiom that sounds like it came from another language when actually it did not.
  5. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Yes, I have noted that "newspaper Arabic" (seems to) creates many calques by borrowings literally from English. Not an idiom, but I commented on the use of أرضــية to mean 'base' or 'basis' and علّق to mean 'to halt' or 'stop' in this thread.

    Anyway, to your question, Andrew, here are some English and Arabic (Egyptian) idioms that I have noted over the years that are similar, yet (to the best of my knowledge) originated independently of the other language:

    I bought it dirt cheap.
    اشتريتها برخص التراب.

    (This is first one I always think of when the topic of the similarity of Arabic and English idioms comes up.)

    They left me out in the cold (i.e. not included, not in the loop)
    سابوني في الطراوة.

    A little bird told me you are planning a trip to Egypt.
    العصفورة قالت لي إنك ناوي تسافر مصر.

    سوّى حسابه مع (فلان)
    = to settle accounts with (someone), i.e. to settle the score, get even, get revenge.

    For example:
    I'll settle my accounts with you. You'll see.
    حاسوّي حسابي معاك. حتشوف.

    I'm not sure an idiom repository, as it were, would be allowed, but if I think of any more I'll get them to you.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  6. havle Member

    تضع اللمسات الأخيرة
    This is Arabic and I don't think it 's borrowed from English.
  7. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Many thanks for your posts, especially to Josh whose expressions I found fascinating.
  8. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    We have a lot of idioms and proverbs with the same meaning and usage.
    Actually, I am interseted in such things because I am an English instructor and the students find them interesting,too.

    So, I have a lot :)

    -"Sielnce makes consent" السكوت علامة الرضا

    -"Slip of the tongue" زلة لسان

    -"Add fuel to fire" ........Bywalla3ha

    -"Beat around the bush"...byleff w yedooor

    -"Have a big nose"....By7shor mna5eero fe kol 7aga

    -"Between the devil and the deep blue sea....البحر امامنا و العدو وراءنا

    -"Cat got your tongue?"....feen lesanak ?? kaletto el 2otta ?

    -"Crocodile tears".....dmoo3 el tmaseeee7

    -"Ask for someone's hand"....ytlob edeeha lel gawaz

    -"Turn over a n ew leaf"......nebda2 saf7a gdeeda

    -"Born with silver spoon in his mouth".......mawlood fe bo22o ma3la22a "dahab"

    -"Blood is thicker than water".......el damm 3omro mayb2a mayyah

    -"Out of sight, out of mind"...b3eed 3n el 3een..b3eed 3n el 2alb

    -"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"
    elly beeto mn ezaz may7adefsh el nas bel toob

    -"The ball is in your court".......el kora fe mal3abak

    -"Strike while the iron is hot"....اطرق الحديد و هو ساخن-

    "Haste makes waste".......fel 3agalla el ndama

    -"The spirit is willing but, the flesh is weak".... el 3een baseera wel 2eed 2aseera

    "A drowning man will clutch at a straw" el 3'ar2an yet3alla2 be 2ashayah

    Hope this helps :)
  9. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Wow Dr Susy! Your expressions were amazing!!! :)
  10. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    I just want to reiterate that just because an expression has the same literal meaning in both languages doesn't always mean it was borrowed. Most of these expressions reflect universal observations about life.
  11. londonmasri Senior Member

    Are both these used in Egyptian arabic also? Or woud it be sabuuny fil-bard (not sure how the first one would be adapted if it is used)

    Nice one Dr Susy :thumbsup:

    I was just wondering about the word 'may7adefsh' - is the root (ye7aadef)? and does it literally mean to 'throw'. So if I wanted to say 'throw it!" it would be i7dafhaa!

    Also is the word '2ashayah' the word used for straw in all contexts?

    Many thanks (great thread!! :))
  12. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Many languages have similar idioms some are related and others are not.
    غابت السبع ولعب الضباع
    Cuando el gato no está, los ratones bailan
    When the cat is away, the mice will play
    عصرفوباليد احسان من عشرة على الشجرة
    A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush
    Pájaro en mano vale cien volando
  13. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I second this; some idioms just seem to make sense and could have originated in more than one language independently.

    I would also like to note that some may have originated in Arabic and then were borrowed into English, not the other way round although I know for sure that some are borrowed into Arabic from English.

    These, as an example, I know for sure have originated in Arabic:

    السكوت علامة الرضا: this originated from the Islamic ruling about marriage: سكوت البكر علامة رضاها, meaning that a virgin does not have to say "yes" verbally as opposed to a woman married before which has to say the word "yes".

    حساوي حسابي معك: this is very classical. In Arabic, judgment day is called يوم الحساب and حاسب فلانٌ فلانًا means that the first person interrogated the second person and judged his actions. This is not even an idiom, this is the usual use for the word حساب.

    البحر أمامناوالعدو ورائنا: Actually, it's البحر من ورائكم، والعدو أمامكم، ; it's a quote from Tariq Bin Ziyad's famous speech when he reached Spain with his army in the early eighth century. The speech starts with:

    أيها الناس، أين المفر؟ البحر من ورائكم، والعدو أمامكم، وليس لكم والله إلا الصدق والصبر، واعلموا أنكم في هذه الجزيرة أضيع من الأيتام في مأدبة اللئام...الخ

    So I'd say it's quite Arabic.

    I wouldn't be surprised if these were borrowed into English from Arabic, considering that they are rather old hence it's possible to find such expressions in classical Arabic books.

    Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if the first idiom: اللمسات الأخيرة, is actually borrowed; but I really don't know for sure.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  14. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Throw means "i7defha" but, in MSA" to throw something" is يرمى-يقذف

    Straw=2ashayyah, and in MSA it is قشة

    Yes, this is its origin :)

    Thanks for the correction, Mahaodeh :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2008
  15. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    القشة التي كسرت دهر البعير= the straw that broke the camel's back:
    القطرة التي أفاظت الكأس= la goutte qui a débordé le vase:
    تمخض الجبل فولد فأرة= la montagne qui accouche d'une souris:
    الشيطان يكمن في التفاصيل= le diable vit dans les détails:
  16. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Thank you Djamal for sharing these phrases with us! They are great! :thumbsup:
  17. Mr.Slade Member

    U.S. English
    In his book Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and Varieties , Clive Holes says that with the pressure of news pouring into Arabic satellite stations and newspapers in English and French, the translators must make snap translations to get it on the air or in print, and they tend to make loan translations on the fly ("hard currency", "floating of the pound", "tip of the iceberg," etc.) He has lots of examples.
  18. Awatoufa Senior Member

    Hi this is really very interesting i learned many idioms from this disscussion and I want to participate mee too but i know only this : he has the heads on the clouds we say in arabic =كانت رأسه بين الغيوم
    (which means a person who lives in the dreams)
    Hope that other members join us!!
  19. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    غيض من فيض==the tip of the icergeg= la partie émergée de l'iceberg
  20. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Hi Dr Susy, did you mean to say 3aseera here? Cheers.

    I love your expressions posted above, and I re-read them again today :)
  21. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Hey, Andrew :)

    I'm glad that you liked them :)

    2aseera means "short" ,in MSA "قصيرة"

    For example, I'm very poor.I see an expensive car, so "el 3een baseera" العين بصيرة" ..(Eyes can see.)

    Nevertheless, I don't have money to buy it. :( el 2eed 2aseera...اليد قصيرة I don't have money in my hand. :)
    قصيرة here, doesn't mean physically short, but "unable to pay money"

    I hope it's now clear. :)
  22. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    Add the Final touches=تضع اللمسات الأخيرة
  23. Mr.Slade Member

    U.S. English
    That's a good example -- an Arabic match for the English expression. But the news translator didn't think of it because he or she was under a time constraint, so what came out in print or over the air was a literal translation, قمة جبل الثلج, and that was what many thousands of people heard or read and possible embraced as their own.
  24. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I disagree, غيض من فيض and "the tip of the iceberg" are not identical and actually not very close either although in some contexts you can translate one by the other.

    The tip of the iceberg is used for something where what is hidden is much more than what is not; so I would equate it to: وما خَفِيَ كان أعظم; it implies that the issue is bigger than we think or what we can see. It comes from the fact that only 10% of the iceberg is above water.

    غيض من فيض says literally "a little [water] lost out of a flood" and it implies that the issue is insignificant and not such a big deal. The way it's used means "a little out of a lot"; from Lisaan Al Arab:
    وأعطاهُ غَيْضًا من فيض أي أعطاهُ قليلاً من كثيرٍ.
  25. Mr.Slade Member

    U.S. English
    Maybe it means that also, but it is clearly being used currently in the same way as "tip of the iceberg." Samples can be googled; e.g.
    وما هذه المجزرة إلا غيض من فيض جرائمها
  26. londonmasri Senior Member

    غيض من فيض could be translated as the common saying 'thisis only a drop in the ocean'. However it is pretty much the same thing as 'the tip of the iceberg'.

    There is also the saying 'it's nothing to write home about' i.e. it's nothing major.

    Also, he is making 'a big deal out of nothing/ a mountain out of a mole hill'.
  27. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    I have heard this proverb: "النظافة من الإيمان".

    Is this a genuine Arabic proverb, or do you think it is borrowed from the English "Cleanliness is next to godliness"?
  28. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    It's a Hadeeth, it dates back 1400 years. I'd say it's quite genuine :).
  29. djara

    djara Senior Member

    Sousse, Tunisia
    Tunisia Arabic
    In Tunisian Arabic we say

    من الحبة يبني قبة

    Loosely translated: to build a dome out of a grain
  30. djara

    djara Senior Member

    Sousse, Tunisia
    Tunisia Arabic
    English saying: "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning"
    Tunisian equivalent: إذا حمرت في العشية خوذ زادك وتهيأـ إذا حمرت في الصباح حط زادك وارتاح
  31. djamal 2008 Senior Member


    من حبة زيتون يعصر لترة زيت؛
  32. meem1221 New Member

    hi I would love to share you with these proverbs

    Advice is ever in want>>>>لا خاب من استشار

    Actions speak louder than words>>>>العبرة بالأعمال وليست بالأقوال

    Add fuel to the fire>>>>يزيد الطين بلة

    After great effort, he explained that water is water
    >>>>وفسّر الماء بعد الجهد بالماء

    Address people in the language they can understand>>>>خاطب الناس على قدر عقولهم

    The absent party is not faulty>>>>الغايب عذره معه

    After black clouds, clear weather>>>>كل شدة وتهون،الصبر مفتاح الفرج

    Always has been, always will be>>>>من شبّ على شيء شاب عليه

    A chip of the old block>>>>هذا الشبل من ذاك الأسد

    Birds of feather flock together>>>>الطيور على أشكالها تقع

    Do as you would be done>>>>عامل الناس كا تحب أن يعاملوك

    Charity begins at home>>>>الأقربون أولى بالمعروف

    Conciliation is the matter of the law>>>>الصلح سيد الأحكام

    Cut your coat according to your cloth>>>> على قدر لحافك مد رجليك، رحم الله إمرءاً عرف قدر نفسه

    Easy come, easy go>>>>ما يأتي بسهولة يذهب بسهولة،ما لا تجلبه الرياح تأخذه الزوابع

    A creaking gate hangs long>>>>الباب ذو الصرير يعيش طويلاً

    Do good and cast it into the sea>>>>اعمل خير والقه في البحر

    The end justifies the means>>>>الغاية تبرر الوسيلة

    Every tide has its ebb>>>>( لكل سحابة بطانة) لكل جواد كبوة

    A friend in need is a friend indeed>>>>الصديق وقت الضيق

    No gains without pains>>>>لا نتيجة بدون ألم،لا حلاوة بدون نار

    To err is human>>>> كل ابن آدم خطاّء

    Every cloud has a silver lining>>>>رب ضرة نافعة

    Don’t put your head in the lions mouth>>>>لا تلقوا بأيديكم إلى التهلكة

    A flash in the pan>>>>رمية من غير رامي

    It is the end that counts>>>>إنما العبرة بالنهاية
  33. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Many thanks Meem for your proverbs.

    Nice ones! :)

    I was particularly interested to see الغاية تبرر الوسيل, because in English it is the opposite - our saying is that the "end doesn't justify the means."

    What do you mean that the absent party is not faulty? In what situation for example could this be used?

    Also, may I ask what معروف means here? I thought it meant "well-known". So I don't understand how the meaning is that charity begins at home. Cheers.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  34. meem1221 New Member

    hey Andrew

    we use absent party is not faulty if someone miss a meeting or something els

    also معروف means a favour

    hope the sentences above are clear because my English isn`t that good :)
  35. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    في الأمر بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر
  36. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Ah yes I forgot about that Authority. Thanks for that.
  37. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I believe the saying "the end justifies the means" is attributed to Nicolo Mechiavelli; it is a sort of motto for the Consequentalists. Both the Arabic and the English are a direct translation of the original Italian. Naturally you will find opposite sayings because most people don't agree to that motto.

    I'm not really sure what he means, but الغايب عذره معه means literally "the absent has his excuse with him". It's used mostly when someone gets angry for another person being late or absent, so he would be adivsed that he should hold his anger until the absent comes and explains himself - he may have a valid excuse. But you can use it in any situation where the person being blamed for anything is absent - the point is "the excuse would not be here until the absent comes because it's with him so halt the judjment until he arrives".

    In this context, المعروف هو ما تعارف الناس على أنه خير, in general it means any good thing be it charity or otherwise. The saying says that those that are closest [to you] are the most worthy of your charity/good deed. It means that your family, friends and neighbours (i.e. closeness can be by relation or physical closeness) are the ones you should start with if you want to do good.
  38. londonmasri Senior Member

    :thumbsup:Nice post maha :)
  39. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Thank you.
  40. L.2 Senior Member

    Saudi Arabia
    Hi I would like to share my list here as I am an Arabian who learning English and I always collect idioms or phrases that have the same meaning in both Arabic and English. Here they are with explantations of their uses in Arabic​

    1- Words fail me:​

    تخونني الكلمات​

    It means you can't express your feelings. ​

    Note, in Arabic it is betray​

    2- From a different angle​

    من زاوية مختلفة ​

    It means from a different point of view​

    3- All senses of the word:​

    E.g. He is a friend in all senses of the word ​

    هو صديق بكل معنى الكلمة​

    4- Castles in the air:​

    قصور من رمال​

    Dreams about impractical things are called castles in the air​

    In Arabic it's called castles from sand ​

    5- Behind his back:​

    من وراء ظهره​

    If you do something behind someone's back you do it without telling him ​

    6- By heart​

    عن ظهر قلب ​

    Memorize something word by word.​

    7- Wash laundry in public​

    نشر الغسيل ​

    Revealing your private life in public. ​

    8- Eat my heart out:​

    أأكل بنفسي​

    Note in Arabic it's myself​

    If you say you eat yourself, you're saying you feel so jealous or angry​

    9- Calm before the storm:​

    الهدوء قبل العاصفة​

    If you know something terrible will happen but didn't happen yet. It's a quiet before the storm​

    10- Flesh and blood:​

    الدم واللحم​

    If someone is your flesh and blood, he is your relative. ​

    11- Green light​

    الضوء الأخضر ​

    If someone gives you a green light, he gives you permission to do something.​

    12- Chicken scratch خربشة دجاج ​

    If someone's handwriting is very bad, it's chicken scratch​

    13- In face of someone:​

    بوجهه ​

    If you said something in face of someone you said it directly to him​

    14- chin up:​

    مرفوع الرأس ​

    To feel confident or proud. In Arabic it's head up​

    15- Kill two birds with one stone: ​

    اضرب عصفورين بحجر​

    To do two things in one action​

    16- Last strew; or the strew that breaks the camel's back​

    القشة التي قصمت ظهر البعير​

    The last of series of bad events and you can't bear any longer​

    17- Pease in a pod; ​

    فوله وانقسمت نصفين​

    Two persons are alike and very identical.​

    18- Look in the bright side​

    انظر إلى الجانب المضيء​

    To look in an optimistic side of something​

    19- Blood boil:​

    غليان أو فوران الدم​

    If your blood boils it means you are so angry​

    20- Melt my heart​

    If you loved someone, he melts your heart.​

    21- My heart bleeds​

    If your heart bleeds, you feel great sadness. ​

    22- Four eyes:​

    أربع عيون​

    If someone has four eyes, it means he wears glasses. ​

    It is an offensive phrase.​

    23- New blood​

    دماء جديدة ​

    If a company needs new blood, it needs new employees to provide new ideas, plans..etc​

    24- In cold blood​

    بدم بارد​

    If something done in a cold blood, it's done cruelly.​

    25- No smoke without fire​

    لا دخان بدون نار ​

    This idiom means that when people suspect something, there is always a good reason for the suspicion.​

    26- On the tip of my tongue​

    على طرف لساني ​

    If someone say something I am about to say, it's on the tip of my tongue.​

    27- An open book:​

    كتاب مفتوح ​

    If you're an open book, everyone knows your thoughts.​

    28- Open old wound:​

    فتح جرح قديم ​

    If someone reminds you of something bad happened in the past, he opens an old wound.​

    29- Plastic smile:​

    الابتسامة الصفراء​

    To pretend that you are happy or to be forced to smile, in Arabic it's called yellow smile. ​

    30- Runs in the family;​

    تجري في العائلة ​

    If something runs in the family, it passes from generation to generation e.g. a particular disease or anything happened to many members of the family.​

    31- Save face:​

    حفظ ماء الوجه ​

    To save your face means to protect your reputation.​

    32- Slip of the tongue:​

    زلة لسان​

    If you say something by mistake, it's a slip of the tongue.​

    33- Beggars can't be choosers​

    شحاذ ويتشرط​

    35- Strike while the iron is hot:​

    اطرق الحديد وهو حامي ​

    To do something in an appropriate time.​

    36- Wash your hand of something/someone​

    غسلت يدي منه​

    If you wash your hand from something, you give up it. In other word, when you think that somebody won't make any further improvement, you say I wash my hand from him (This idiom is only understandable in the gulf countries)​

    37- all ears
    كلي آذان صاغية
    If you say you are all ears, you are listening.​

    38- All roads lead to Rome​

    كل الطرق تؤدي إلى روما​

    This idiom means all the different ways have the same result.​

    39- Turn your back one someone​

    تدير له ظهرك​

    Give up him​

    40- In broad daylight​

    في وضح النهار​

    To do something in broad daylight, it means to do it visibly without hiding it.​

    41- To keep somebody in the picture​

    تجعله في الصورة​

    To give him the information he needs to be aware of something or a situation.​

    42- Jerk​


    Stupid person (This word is only known between Saudi's teenagers)​

    43- Put the squeeze on somebody​


    To put pressure on him and to make the situation difficult for him.​

    (Again, it's between Saudi's teenagers)​

    44- The survival of the fittest​

    البقاء للأفضل​

    People or things that are best will continue to exist​

    45- Gather myself/my thoughts​

    ألملم شتات نفسي/ أجمع أفكاري​

    To prepare myself or my thoughts.​
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  41. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Many thanks L.2.

    I love your expressions, and I hope to use them in daily life. :)
  42. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I was unable to find one; I also don't recall hearing one. I do remember something similar though: لا تفتح علينا\على نفسك باب دَبَرَة, dabara is a strong wind coming from behind; meaning don't do something that causes trouble.


    Since everyone is giving a few proverbs, I'd like to share some that I have always enjoyed:

    - بتكبوا الكهوة من عماكم وبتكولوا الخير أجاكم (Palestinian falaa7i, I laughed my heart out when I first heard it).
    - خذوه بالموت حتى يرضى بالحمى; I've also heard it in collequal شوفه الموت حتى يرضى بالسخونة
    - إبنك على ما ربيتيه وزوجك على ما عودتيه
    - من برّة إشي إشي ومن جوة خرق محشي
    - قيل للبغل من أبوك؟ قال: الحصان خالي
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  43. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Many thanks Maha for those proverbs.

    May I ask what this proverb بتكبوا الكهوة من عماكم وبتكولوا الخير أجاكم means?

    (Also, something very strange happened to my post above. My deleted post asked whether there is an Arabic equivalent of "Let sleeping dogs lie" other than لا تعكر المياه الراكدة)
  44. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In MSA it would be: تسكبون/تدلقون القهوة بسبب عماكم ثم تقولون أن الخير جاءكم

    In Palestinian countryside the qaaf is pronounced as a kaaf. In Palestinian Arabic: to spill = كَبّ present plural second person تكبوا; coffee = كهوة; you (plural) say = تكولوا.

    In Arab culture they believe that spilling coffee is an indication of some good coming to you. The proverb is saying: "you spill the coffee due to your blindness (i.e. you were not looking or taking care) then you say: good/fortune has come to you"; it's used when someone does somthing stupid due to his clumsiness, misconduct or mere stupidity then he claims that it's for the best. My grandmother loves this proverb and uses it often :).

    As for your post, I read it yesterday; I don't know why it disappeared!
  45. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Can we say "Ana kull uzun" in Egyptian Arabic (or its equivalent in other dialects) to mean "I am all ears"? Does it sound natural or a weird borrowed idiom?
  46. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    كلي آذان صاغية
    kulli athaanun Saghiyah.I don't know how is it said in Egyptian dialect
  47. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    أعاره أذنا صاغية؛ prêter une oreille attentive, to heed.
  48. the-quality-man-4 Senior Member

    add fuel to fire I was thinking that ash'ala is the correct one,and I want to know "bywalla3ha" what does it mean?
  49. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    It just means "He lights it".

    For example, he lights a cigarette or a fire.
  50. the-quality-man-4 Senior Member

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